Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Impairs Cognition During Strenuous Tasks, Study Finds

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Impairs Cognition During Strenuous Tasks, Study Finds
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a treatment often used in fibromyalgia, may lead to cognitive overload if the method is applied during difficult cognitive tasks, according to a study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, that also underscored how little might be known about what happens in the brain during electrical stimulation. In the study, The effects of tDCS upon sustained visual attention are dependent on cognitive load,  researchers at the University of Oslo explored if tDCS — a treatment employing a very weak electrical current sent through the skull to the outer layers of the brain — could affect cognitive performance. Cognitives tasks were performed by three masters students, and divided into three levels: simple (one target per visual field), medium (two targets), and difficult (three targets). No effects of tDSc treatment were reported when participants performed simple and medium tasks. But when difficult tasks were attempted under electrical stimulation, participants performed poorly, showing a large negative effect of the stimulation. "tDCS had a disruptive effect only on the most difficult tasks that demanded a lot of concentration," James Roe, a research assistant in the university's Department of Psychology, said in a press release. "We saw that participants experienced severe problems concentrating when the task was most difficult and the brain was being stimulated. This was in comparison to performance
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